Coach Kathy Snyder of the Southern Regional High School girls basketball team died in her sleep on Jan. 24. She was 58.

Southern went on to finish 22-5 and win the Shore Conference A South title. That the Rams didn't fall apart after Snyder's death is a testament to her ability to connect with and lead her players. She is The Press Coach of the Year.

"It was a difficult year," said Tom Bucci, a Southern assistant who took over as head coach. "We would have never have gotten through it if it wasn't for Snyder."

Snyder was in the midst of her 35th season at Southern. Her career record was 547-311.

"She instilled values in these young ladies," Bucci said. "This (season) was her last group. The players wanted to show that legacy, to show what she taught (them) and what she was about as a woman and a coach. Some people would come up to me and say, 'You're doing a great job.' But it was still Kathy. She wasn't there but she got (the players) to believe they could overcome anything and they did that."

Contact Michael McGarry:

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